Work with a partner. Take turns to read out the sentences below and to respond with one of the sarcastic comments above.
a) I asked him politely to turn the music down and he told me to get lost.
b) He spent an hour telling me about his pension plan.
c) My gran bought me a framed photo of the Queen for my birthday.
d) All the trains have been cancelled, Iím afraid.
e) Thereís absolutely nothing I can do about that.
f) That idiot Andrew lost £5000 at the casino.
Have a look at the list of problems with things that people buy.
1) I got it cheap in the market, but when I played it, the picture was just really fuzzy.
2) It shrank in the wash.
3) When I got it back home, I realized it was chipped.
4) It wasnít compatible with my system.
5) It had a little rip in it.
6) The colours ran the first time I put them in the wash.
7) It just didnít really go with the rest of the outfit.
8) Itís already coming apart at the sole.
9) It was past sell-by-date, so I just had to chuck it away.
1. Have you ever had any of the problems mentioned in Exercise 4?
2. Have you ever had any other problems with things you bought? Did you get a refund?
With a partner, choose one of the problems in Exercise 4.
Student A: You are the buyer.
Student B: You are the seller.
Spend three minutes deciding what you are going to say. Look at the conversation in Exercise 1 again and the sarcastic comments in Exercise 2, and choose any expressions you want to use. Then role-play the conversation.
Letters of complaint
1. Have you ever had to complain about something or had a bad experience like those mentioned in Unit 2? Tell a partner.
2. Write a letter of complaint about this experience. The following information will be helpful in writing the letter.
6 Lakeside Road
Customer number: AF 2789
Tel: mob 07790 74820
Mr A Fountain
Unit 7, Riverside Business Park
Dear Mr Fountain
I am writing to complain about the computer that I bought from your company last week. I am unhappy with the computer and the service that I have received.
In your advertisement you state that a choice of software is included in the price. I was hoping for something useful, like a word processing package or something for the Internet, but you included an outdated tennis game, and a programme to write up recipes. Neither piece of software is particularly useful for me.
I was also unhappy with the after-sales service that I received. Although you claim in your advertisement that you offers discounts, the computer that I bought was on sale for £150 less in my local computer shop. I was happy to pay the extra money because I am not very confident with computers and I thought your company would offer me the extra technical help that I need. However, this was not the case.
I had to take the day off work to wait for the computer to arrive, despite your claims that you would arrange a convenient time. The technician who finally came was little more than a delivery boy and he stayed for only ten minutes, just long enough to take the computer out of the box. When I had difficulties setting up the computer on my own, I decided to phone your hotline, but I was shocked to be told by your operator that the call would cost a total of £20.
I am still having difficulties getting the computer started and would like you to send one of your technicians to my house as soon as possible to fix it. I would also like a refund of the £20 phone call, which I feel I should not have to pay, and a choice of a better range of software products than the ones you have sent me.
I hope to hear from you in the near future, and can be contacted at any time on the mobile number above.
We often write formal letters to people who we do not know very well. Polite forms are always used, even in letters of complaint. These letters use a lot of formulaic language, and even native speakers use the same phrases in their letter each time they write. You should try to include some of these phrases in your own work.